Living in Another Financial Reality

Date: 15 Jul 2012 | posted in: waste - anti-incineration, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Sally Sorbello, a grassroots organizer with the No Incinerator Alliance, is a small business women and citizen activist from Frederick, MD. Small business people and citizens have been fighting a proposed garbage incinerator in their County for seven years. Ms. Sorbello’s letter to her local newspaper captures the essence of the case against the incinerator. It is based on years of research and analysis of solid waste management in Frederick County and the state of Maryland.

The No Incinerator Alliance has an excellent web page filed with information about the Frederick, MD anti-incinerator fight that can be applied to other locales fighting incineration of garbage.

ILSR is pleased to be part of the process in which citizen and small business activists get involved in anti-incineration organizing and emerge as leaders for other citizens in other communities.

Reposted from Frederick News Post –

It’s always good to learn from the mistakes of others. Montgomery County’s incinerator is such a mistake.

According to a June 8 report by Moody’s Investors Service, disposal costs in Montgomery County are “high at around $110 per ton.” It also states that the “county is contractually obligated to utilize and pay for (a) higher cost WTE facility despite the availability of disposal alternatives in the area.”

Moody’s states that the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority maintains an Aa3 rating on its bonds to fund the Montgomery County incinerator. “The Aa3 rating reflects a county obligation to make service payments regardless of whether the WTE facility is operating; strong economic flow control in a wealthy service area; and user fee-derived revenues delivered via property tax bills …” This means good news for investors, bad news for taxpayers.

In summary, no matter how well — or not at all — the incinerator is functioning in Montgomery County, the ultimate responsibility is with the taxpayers to subsidize it through fees charged to them on their property tax bills.

The Frederick County Commissioners do not seem to understand the financial reality of the proposed Frederick/Carroll incinerator, since they claim that the NMWDA is on the hook for the bonds. That is like saying your mortgage banker is responsible for paying off the mortgage for your house.

The NMWDA continues to mislead the public and our officials into thinking the incinerator is somehow a financial boon, that it will pay for itself. They mislead us because the incinerator means money in their pockets, to the tune of $500,000 a year at 3 percent markup, plus an ever-escalating membership fee (it is now $125,000 a year and will rise to $275,145 a year by fiscal 2015) for the next 30 years.

It is too late for Montgomery County to undo the mistake of building its incinerator. It is not too late for us here in Frederick County. Carroll County does not want to proceed as partner in this project. We need to work with Carroll County as a true partner and cancel the incinerator contract with them in favor of better options — not pass this hot potato to yet another Maryland county so they can partner in financial hardship along with us.

Sally Sorbello
writes from Frederick.